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Sidney Composts! is in full swing at SCSD
A new initiative this year at Sidney Central has been the Sidney Composts! program in the elementary and high schools.

The cafeteria-based program is a way for students to discard food that will not be eaten into compost bins, which are stationed throughout the cafeteria in the high school. Buckets are also at the front of the elementary school cafeteria.

In the high school, students from Jay Waltz’s and David Teitelbaum’s classes place the bins out and prepare something to show what can and can’t be composted each week, based on the weekly menu. They also do scientific measurements of the compost, including collecting weight and temperature data.

As students bring their trays up in the elementary school, fourth- and fifth-grade compost teams help students decide what can and can’t be composted. Compostable food waste is collected daily in the cafeterias and transported to an outdoor compost bin. The compost will later be used for building better soil in the school gardens. Josh Gray, who oversees the elementary school program, said they fill about a bucket of compost items each day.

In the high school, Teitelbaum said there is upward of six pounds of compost collected each day during the lunch periods. There’s always room for improvement, he said, but noted students are asking questions about the program, showing they are cognizant to what the program is trying to accomplish.

Since November, as part of the educational component of the program, a group of fifth-grade students has been teaching other elementary classes about how and why we compost. A group from Beth Hutter’s homeroom started using some of their free time to create a lesson about composting in the cafeteria.
Using a PowerPoint presentation and an interactive activity, teams of three have visited all classrooms in the elementary school.

Teaching other classes has been beneficial to the students putting on the lesson.

“I like teaching kids,” Cassidy Gascon said about joining the project.

Adrianna Harageones agreed, saying her interest in gardening also helped. “I was thinking, why not teach kids about composting?”

The lessons for the fifth graders as they go from class to class can hopefully make things better in the long run on a larger scale as well, said Madison Campbell.

“If you teach more people about composting, it’ll make them want to do it and make the world a better place,” Madison said.

The teaching project has been memorable and collaborating with team members has been a big part of that, Aceleinn Brainard said. Steve Loewenstein said interacting with the students and seeing the smiles on their faces has been also rewarding.
Sidney Central School District
95 West Main Street  |  Sidney, NY 13838  |   Phone: 607.563.2135  |   Fax: 607.563.2386
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